"ARD Says...."


You should perform regular backups of your data files. Depending on the volume of data files on your computer, you can either back those files up to a CD/DVD, an external storage device such as an external hard drive, an on-line back-up solution such as Carbonite.com or to the Cloud. A third party back-up solution such as Acronis True Image makes a complete image of your hard drive and should be stored on an external storage solution. You should also make a boot floppy for easier recovery in the event of an operating system crash. Be sure to put your operating system recovery CD and your operating system's Product Key in a safe place.

Lightning Protection

There are numerous products on the market that provide protection from lightning strikes and data loss, from surge protectors to uninterruptible power supplies. Good surge protectors cut off any power surges to your computer, while a UPS allows your PC to continue operating long enough for you to shut down property and avoid loss of data. The only fool-proof method for protecting your system during thunderstorms, however, is to completely unplug your computer and all of its peripherals, including the phone line for your modem.

Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter

Running these two Windows applications will keep your hard drive running smoothly and alert you to any potential hard drive problems. Both programs can be found under Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools. If you have a problem getting Scandisk or Defrag to run, it's probably due to application processes running in the background of your system. You can solve this issue by running your computer in Safe Mode. You should perform these operations once a week, at a time when you won't be using your PC, such as overnight.


Spyware and Malware are programs installed on your computer by an application you have downloaded or installed from the internet or e-mail. These programs can cause irreparable damage to your system files, personal data and registry. In reality, if unchecked, these nasties can crash your computer causing you to lose all your data and files. We recommend downloading the free programs, Super Antispyware or Malwarebytes. These programs will scan your system for these files, show you infected files it has found and gives you the opportunity to quarantine them and then delete them from your system.